When you’re serious about getting totally unique photos, sometimes you need to think outside of the box and try some techniques or equipment that no one else has thought of. Finding new uses for different technologies is a great place to start, just like photographer Steve Winter does in this video. By combining a camera with a remote control car, he’s able to get shots from an incredibly short distance; as we see, this allows him to get up close and personal with a wild tiger – an opportunity which results in a series of pictures with a completely unique perspective that few, if any, have achieved before:
To be fair, Winter didn’t invent or build this RC contraption. It had been hanging around at the Nat Geo office for a while; he only recognized its useful application. By doing so, though, he was able to create intimate images of an elusive and very dangerous animal, the likes of which have hardly been seen before. Most of the wildlife images we see every day are taken from a great distance with a very long lens, and while some photographers are so bold as to get closer with a mid-range focal length, using a lens as wide as this one to photograph deadly predators would typically be just a step away from suicide.
Through technology, however, Winter removes the danger and manages to get the camera close enough to the tiger to grab these sprawling environmental shots that emphasize the tiger’s power and position while also shrinking its appearance, making it appear strangely small and vulnerable.
While we wouldn’t suggest venturing through the jungle in search for potentially fatal subjects, this technique could be tried at home in a variety of ways. A good Joby Gorillapod will allow you to mount a camera on any remote control device that will hold its weight without tipping (compact and mirrorless cameras are best for this).
To fire the camera, it would need to either have a remote shutter release (the Canon G16, for example, can be controlled via smartphone or tablet) or a built-in intervalometer that is set to take a photo every so many seconds. Mechanizing the tilt of the lens would take some serious engineering, but with a wide angle lens, setting the camera at a constant height can still provide extremely interesting results – this is evidenced by the shots that Winter gets in the video, despite having a malfunctioning robot.
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